Cardinals legend Lou Brock passed away today at age 81. According to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hall-of-Famer had been dealing with “a number of medical conditions in recent years.”
Over 19 seasons in the majors, Brock displayed nothing less than mastery of the basepaths, recording 938 stolen bases (from 1245 total chances). Brock is the National League’s all-time stolen base leader, and his 118 steals in 1974 is also the league’s single-season record. Only Rickey Henderson has more career steals in Major League history, and given how the stolen base has become a less-popular tactic in recent years, it certainly seems like Henderson and Brock will continue to reign atop the all-time steals list for decades to come.
Beyond the stolen bases, Brock was a big contributor all over the field. Brock hit .293/.343/.410 over 11240 plate appearances and his 3023 career hits rank him 28th on the all-time hit list. Brock was a six-time All-Star and won two World Series rings with the Cardinals, coming up big for St. Louis in the postseason. Over 92 career World Series plate appearances, Brock hit a whopping .391/.424/.655 with four homers (while also going 14-for-16 on stolen base attempts).
A little over 15 and a half of Brock’s MLB seasons were spent with the Cards, and his 2289 games played in a St. Louis uniform is second behind Stan Musial on the franchise’s all-time list. Ironically, Brock’s arrival in St. Louis was met with little fanfare, as he was part of a six-player trade with the Cubs in June 1964 that saw Brock and two other players join the Cardinals, while three other players (most notably accomplished starter Ernie Broglio) headed to Chicago. As Hummel noted, many Cards fans and even players weren’t pleased at the trade, yet it has now gone down as one of the more famously lopsided deals in baseball history, not to mention a major plank of the ever-heated Cardinals/Cubs rivalry.
Brock went into Cooperstown as a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer in 1985, and his post-playing endeavors included some TV commentary work and a special instructor role for the Cardinals. All of us at MLB Trade Rumors sent our condolences to Brock’s family, friends, and many fans.